The Hush Post: China has developed a new underwater surveillance network, a media report has said. The system, which has already been launched, works by gathering information about the underwater environment, particularly water temperature and salinity, which the navy can then use to more accurately track target vessels as well as improve navigation and positioning, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
After years of construction and testing, the new surveillance system is now in the hands of the Chinese navy. It has reported “good results”, the oceanology institute said in its latest briefing in November, according to the report. The Chinese system, led by the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), is based on a network of platforms – buoys, surface vessels, satellites and underwater gliders – that gather data from the South China Sea, and the Western Pacific and Indian oceans, the paper quoted the report by Oceanology Institute.
In recent years, China has stepped up naval expeditions to the Indian Ocean to fight the pirates in Gulf of Aden. China is silent about the reasons to deploy submarines for anti-piracy operations.
China is also seeking to establish logistic bases in the Indian Ocean, much to the chagrin of India. The first such base was opened by China in Djibouti last year and it acquired the Hambantota port of Sri Lanka on a 99 years lease for debt swap and is also developing the Gwadar port in Pakistan as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
China is involved in maritime disputes in the South and East China Seas. As the battle for the oceans hots up, tools such as the underwater surveillance network could be the difference between winning and losing, the report said.
The project is seen as an unprecedented military expansion fuelled by Beijing’s desire to challenge the US in the world’s oceans, the Post said. According to a study by the Centre for a New American Security and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, by 2030 China will have 260 warships and submarines compared to the US’ 199.